Everything You Need to Know about Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Abuse - click on this link: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/faq1.html
Victims are now fully aware of narcissistic abuse. Why do they keep falling for it? Why don't they resist, recoil, regroup, & retreat?
Because repeat victims share two things with their abusers: a partially latent pathway of mental processing & impaired object constancy.
A healthy person reacts to someone they have just met on a "gut level": a biochemical-emotional exchange followed by a layering of cognitions which lead to either the deepening or the negation of the initial reactions.
Victims & abusers react to each other almost exclusively viscerally. They suppress their cognitions & experience them as threats. Theirs is a bonding of resonating pathologies, sometimes way beyond their awareness.
But why do victims refuse to face their abusers down? What do they stand to lose?
Most abusers and victims are LONELY. They fail to internalize (or introject) significant others. When their nearest are away, they cease to be their dearest.
Healthy people interact with internal representations of their loved ones in the absence of the originals. They cognitively recall the absentees and are flooded with emotions which evoke & elicit memories of the departed.
Habitual victims and their abusers also start by cognitively dwelling on the missing person. But then they have to resort to memories to experience a dim and diffuse nostalgia which passes for emotions. There is a void where an avatar of the ostensibly beloved should have been, replete with attendant memories & feelings. Abusers & victims fulfill each others' voids.
These two idiosyncrasies are at the heart of trauma bonding & dysfunctional attachment styles, often culminating in a shared psychosis. The victim feels that only the abuser can truly understand her, is her soulmate & twin. And, in these two ways, he really is. He provides external object constancy & simulated emotions and like his target, agrees to suspend introspection & judgment. It is an intoxicating offering of merger & fusion that is not mediated or scrutinized cerebrally & which no victim can resist.
(From the book "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" by Sam Vaknin - Click on this link to purchase the print book, or 16 e-books, or 3 DVDs with 16 hours of video lectures on narcissists, psychopaths, and abuse in relationships: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/thebook.html)